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trend, was peculiarly appropriate to universities, and the idea became
personal to him. The silent stretches of green, the quiet halls with
an occasional late-burning scholastic light held his imagination in
a strong grasp, and the chastity of the spire became a symbol of this
"Damn it all," he whispered aloud, wetting his hands in the damp and
running them through his hair. "Next year I work!" Yet he knew that
where now the spirit of spires and towers made him dreamily acquiescent,
it would then overawe him. Where now he realized only his own
inconsequence, effort would make him aware of his own impotency and
The college dreamed on--awake. He felt a nervous excitement that might
have been the very throb of its slow heart. It was a stream where he was
to throw a stone whose faint ripple would be vanishing almost as it left
his hand. As yet he had given nothing, he had taken nothing.
A belated freshman, his oilskin slicker rasping loudly, slushed along
the soft path. A voice from somewhere called the inevitable formula,
"Stick out your head!" below an unseen window. A hundred little sounds
of the current drifting on under the fog pressed in finally on his
"Oh, God!" he cried suddenly, and started at the sound of his voice
in the stillness. The rain dripped on. A minute longer he lay without
moving, his hands clinched. Then he sprang to his feet and gave his
clothes a tentative pat.
"I'm very damn wet!" he said aloud to the sun-dial.
The war began in the summer following his freshman year. Beyond a
sporting interest in the German dash for Paris the whole affair failed
either to thrill or interest him. With the attitude he might have held
toward an amusing melodrama he hoped it would be long and bloody. If it
had not continued he would have felt like an irate ticket-holder at a
prize-fight where the principals refused to mix it up.
That was his total reaction.
"All right, ponies!"
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